1:13 PM CDT, March 29, 2012
A Washington watchdog group called on a Senate ethics committee to investigate Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) for using taxpayer funds for a series of hotel stays in Indiana.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate the senator.
A review of Sen. Lugar’s records found that since 1991, the senator has been charging Hoosiers for his hotel stays even when he was not in session.
The Republican said because of staff errors, taxpayers’ money was improperly used to pay for approximately $4,500 in hotel expenses over the past decade.
“After erroneously billing U.S. taxpayers for decades, Sen. Lugar’s shady activities are finally coming back to haunt him,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “The Senate Ethics Committee should thoroughly investigate his travel expenses and, if warranted, sanction him accordingly.”
According to Senate rules, members are not allowed to use official funds to cover hotel stays near their home-state residence when Senate is not in session.
Sen. Lugar sold his Indiana home in 1977 and currently resides in Washington D.C. Several Indiana Republicans and Democrats attacked the senator on his residency, sparking debate on whether Sen. Lugar could vote in the precinct where he no longer lives.
Sen. Lugar is in the process of consulting with the Senate's Disbursement Office to determine whether the reimbursements to taxpayers should be paid for out of pocket or out of his election fund.
To read CREW's complaint to the committee, click here.
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